Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

History

First Advisor

Professor Mithi Mukherjee

Second Advisor

Professor Phoebe Young

Third Advisor

Professor Vanessa Baird

Abstract

The study of generations has been timeless. Dating as far back as Plato’s time (428 B.C.E) to present-day (2016), scholars of all fields have used generations to study large trends that emerge over time in specific groups of people. Generations are not typically analyzed, however, in a way that reflects a more complicated and polarizing relationship between each generation. Seen especially in the post-World War II generations of the Silent Generation, Baby Boomer Generation, and Millennial Generation, each generation has a unique identity and culture within it, making it difficult for older generations to relate to younger generations. This lack of similarity between post-war generations results in a generation gap. This generation gap influences uncertainty felt by older generations as they are unable to relate to the emerging cultures of newer generations. This thesis suggests that generations are not only used for studying large trends or collecting data, rather they are used as vehicles by which older generations are able to comment upon changes within society that they see in younger generations. The three post-WWII generations mentioned in this thesis will demonstrate the growing generation gap between generations and offer new insights into the ways we look at generations.